A mule now named Marlin almost didn’t have the sweet life he has now.
“Marlin’s picture showed up on my computer just before Christmas of 2010,” said Ann Firestone, president of Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue in New Hampshire. “He was at an auction barn in Pennsylvania, scheduled to ship to slaughter on Christmas Eve. One look into his soulful eyes in the picture was all it took.”
Firestone immediately made a decision to save this anonymous mule’s life.
“I called the auction house, put his $500 ‘bail’ on the credit card and arranged his transportation,” she said. “It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Marlin, who was 25 years old at the time, came to live at the farm where other rescued donkeys and mules get another chance at life, often after lives of hard labor. “When he arrived at the farm I told him he would be safe from now on and would never leave,” Firestone said.
The former work mule is now Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue’s official mascot. Not only that, but he’s also formed a friendship with a human family unlike any he’s ever had before.
“At the time I adopted him I did not realize that just because an animal was trained to pull equipment, or drive, that he would know how to behave under saddle,” Firestone said. “Marlin just didn’t understand what was being asked.”
But he soon proved that he could learn. Firestone signed Marlin up for riding lessons. “He and I went to a nearby indoor arena once a week for the winter. He was a quick learner,” she said. “By spring he was ready to hit the trails.”
Firestone’s niece Lily, who was 15 when Marlin was rescued, has formed a special friendship with the mule. “He has been ridden almost exclusively by my niece Lily,” Firestone said. “He loves her and she adores him. They have a very special bond.”
Firestone takes Marlin to ride at one of his favorite places once a year: the beach. Marlin and his rescued friends love their leisurely walks along the sand. “It’s so much fun to ride on the beach and the animals love to roll in the sand at ride’s end,” she said
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